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Stone Pilots in the Basement with String Cheese can be Tricky...

Tricky, Blowback

GRADE: B

On Tricky's latest and most accessible album to date, artists like Anthony Kiedis, Ed Kowalczyk, Hawkman and Cyndi Lauper lend him a hand with the vocals--which is nice, because Tricky himself often sounds like a raspy Marvin Gaye who would rather eat you than make love to you. Despite its general uneasy vibe, Blowback provides some real gems, such as a tripped-out remake of Nirvana's "Something in the Way."

The String Cheese Incident, Outside Inside

GRADE: B+

The boys from Boulder are back again with their first studio album in over three years, a light and likable dose of West Coast. Infectious beats, catchy lyrics and a hint of bluegrass twang abound, although the real gems of the album are the instrumental offerings, "Drifting"and "Latinissmo," tracks that lend undeniable musical credibility and range to this jam band's growing repertoire. Whether or not Outside Inside provides the group with the recognition they deserve, one thing is certain: This Cheese has never tasted better.

Stone Temple Pilots, Shangri-La Dee Da

GRADE: A-

Considering the skeletons looming in his closet, it would have been easy for frontman Scott Weiland and his Stone Temple Pilots band mates to succumb to the mediocrity of a tired, waning act, but Shangri-La Dee Da proves quite the opposite.

In grand fashion, STP digs in for another round. Weiland showcases his vocal dexterity, moving comfortably from terse, gritty rock to the perfect bedtime lullaby.

The end product is a rejuvenated act, ripping through each song like a musical search-and-destroy mission.

Basement Jaxx, Rooty

GRADE: A-

Apparently, Basement Jaxx have kidnapped Prince and forced him to write a few high-pitched seduction songs for them.

Teetering precariously between the sublime and the stupid, this album brings the house down with layer upon layer of sex-charged beats, blips, and diva-driven melodies that make a little rooty-shaking inevitable.

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